“Last night I dreamed about the silhouette of the yesterday hometown welcoming me back
Standing under the shade, awaiting you after school
Old shadows, remembered paths are now years apart
Oh, how far away are our gazes for each other
I cry out your name, in joy your speech recedes”


Those are words from the lyrics of “Đôi bờ” (literally means “the riverbanks”) by singer Anh Tú in which he conveys the state of a long-distance, hopeless relationship — like that of the space between the riverbanks, which never converge. Throughout the song, we can only manage to grasp the beautiful landscapes, recurrent memories or brief encounters in the dream realm. “All of a sudden, the dream dissolves”, another line from the aforementioned song, suggests an action and at the same time, a quality, emerges in repetition. In the choruses, when a verse begins with the word “dream”, it usually ends and closes as the dream dissolves – the dreamer returns to his consciousness in a never-ending sequence.

Most of us are aware of how dreams are the truest reflections of the subconscious mind. Some probably have tried to delve into their dreams in a hope to collect phantasmagoric shards before waking up to their reality. Thuỳ Anh plays “Đôi bờ” on repeat just like how everyday she dreams, hovers and collects their possibilities in which she confides her trust and imagination — as a form of self-consolation. She dreams about her family, plants, forgotten objects, and quirky landscapes. Perhaps they are the fragmented mirages of distant worlds, but soon reveal to be other lives — the phantoms of reality and belief, which dance between consciousness and the innermost.

Sleeping/eyes half-closed/dreaming/fantasizing/slumbering/dozing off…, whether briefly or long, during the day or at night — they all serve as medium, materials, conduits and the work of art at the same time. For Thuỳ Anh, each time such mundane activity takes place in a different locale with her being in a particular bodily and mental state, she gets to traverse another simulated terrority, where she then searches for the ghosts of her memories and emotions.

For the past two years, Thuỳ Anh’s practice has constantly shapeshifted: from painting, installation, to performance and multimedia. #SoloMarathon2022 — a residency programme initiated by Á Space, not only offers Thuỳ Anh an opportunity to continue her dream-sequence, but also a timely retrospective pitstop. Will dreams cease as we wake up?

To conclude this introduction of her project and to mark the beginning of her journey at Á, the artist would like to quote a verse from ‘Che sarà’:

“I’m making an appointment with you, how and when I don’t know
but I only know that I’ll be back.”

Image: Đặng Thuỳ Anh
Text: Linh Lê & Đặng Thuỳ Anh
Design: Hải Lê
Translation: Linh Lê
Born in Hanoi, Đặng Thuỳ Anh graduated from Vietnam University of Fine Art in 2019, majoring in Graphic Design. Since 2017, Thuỳ Anh has engaged more frequently with Nhà Sàn Collective to explore more experimental and conceptual approaches to her practice through various performance art events and different mediums such as installation, sculpture, painting, photography, and video. Her interest revolves around the connection and disconnection between human and nature; stereotypes and social prejudice towards the conceptualization of gender; movements between physical and non-physical spaces, between unconsciousness, dream and memory. Thuỳ Anh often uses living organisms, her own body and personal archives as materials in her art.
Solo exhibition: Silent Intimacy (The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, HCMC, 2019). Selected exhibitions and performance art festivals: Mini Performance Art Festival Morning – Noon – Afternoon – Evening (Á Space, Hanoi, 2022); Running on the golden road (Á Space, Hanoi, 2021); Month of Art Practice (Heritage Space, Hanoi, 2018); Open Studio I, II & III (Á Space, Hanoi, 2018); Emerging Artists 6 (Nhà Sàn Collective, Hanoi, 2018); NIPAF Festival/IN:ACT (Nhà Sàn Collective, Hanoi, 2017 and 2019); Mot Plus Performance Festival (MoT Plus, Ho Chi Minh, 2019); Wu Wei Performance (Coda Culture, Singapore, 2020).
Linh Lê is a curator, writer and researcher currently based in Sài Gòn. Her work taps on the performativity of archive, space and the body in artistic practice. In 2020, she was selected for a curator exchange between Vietnam and Sydney — a programme by 4A Center with support from the Australian Council. Some of her previous projects include Măng Ta journal, CáRô arts education programme. She holds a BA (Honours) in Arts Management from Essex University and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore).
At the moment, Linh is working on two long term research projects, one deals with the practice of female Vietnam artists, the use of a gendered body in performance and how it affects the artists, their spectators and critics “interpret” their works; one explores the capability of self-expression in art. And other educational, discussion, curatorial projects.